Morrisons came under fire from animal welfare campaigners after a picture emerged of them selling octopuses for just 36p.
The picture stoked a furore on Twitter which users divided on the practise.
The octopuses were pictured reduced at a store in Eccles, near Manchester reports the MirrorOnline.
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Justin Webb, 41, a charity worker and vegan, took a photo of one and posted it on Twitter, saying: “36 pence for a dead baby octopus, one of the most amazing creatures to ever swim the seas. I swear we do not deserve this world.”
His tweet received 43,000 likes and 6,000 retweets and not everyone agreed.
One user said: “What a bargain.”
Another agreed, saying: “Octopus is delicious actually, if you’ve never had it I’d wholeheartedly recommend you give it a try.”
Webb thought the huge response he received was partly due to the popularity of the 2020 Netflix documentary My Octopus Teacher, in which a filmmaker forges a relationship with an octopus in a South African kelp bed.
The Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, patrons of which include Lord Goldsmith, the animal welfare minister, are among those who have criticised the supermarket.
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The foundation is campaigning for octopuses and lobsters to be recognised as sentient creatures and subject to the Animal Sentience Bill.
Lorraine Platt, the charity’s co-founder, told The Times: “It just shows you the low value that we put on other living beings in our world around us. I don’t think you can even buy a chocolate bar for 36p.
“Octopuses are highly intelligent, sentient animals that roam the seas and this image is heart breaking. It really tugs at the heartstrings to see it shrink-wrapped. It’s pitifully sad and grim.”
The foundation wants to raise awareness of “so many healthy alternatives” to eating sea animals.
Webb said: “I realised that they were going to end up in the rubbish bin. It shows the human disregard for life.
“These are beautiful, sentient creatures and you wouldn’t do that to dogs or cats.”
Should Octopus be available to buy in supermarkets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments here.
Speaking on the furore, Morrisons said: “This is the most commonly caught octopus species in Cornwall Eledone cirrhosa, which is much smaller than the common octopus Octopus vulgaris. The Eledone cirrhosa species can mature from 1 year old, at anywhere from 5-12cm in size.”
Their size depends on gender; males tend to be smaller and females larger.
It added: “While we try to manage our stock to customer demands, it is not always possible. Occasionally and as a last resort — to ensure that food that is fit for consumption is not wasted — we do provide an extremely limited number of price reductions.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “We have already commissioned an independent external review of the available scientific evidence on sentience in the class Cephalopoda, which includes octopus, cuttlefish and squid — and we will carefully consider the results of this review.”
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